Yao Ming Mania! All about Chinese basketball star and NBA All-Star Yao Ming » Business

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Yao considering entering the film business

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
by John

Reports have surfaced in China that Yao is considering entering the film industry, which was confirmed by Erik Zhang, Yao’s agent and spokesperson. Here’s an excerpt from a Shanghai Daily article that was published earlier this week:

Previous reports said the Chinese basketball celebrity was in touch with Jay Cohen, an independent filmmaker in Hollywood and the two are planning to establish a film finance fund, according to TheWrap.com, a showbiz news website.

“It is still under discussion and we haven’t made a decision yet,” Zhang told reporters.

Cohen mentioned his cooperation with Yao Ming while being interviewed last week about his comment on Chinese film director Zhang Yimou’s latest work, “The Flowers of War,” said TheWrap.

Cohen said during his interview that the Chinese market is different from Hollywood, where the focus is firmly fixed on the bottom line. But he is optimistic about the business.

“They make movies for specific reasons,” Cohen told TheWrap. “Sometimes, it is to introduce the culture of China to other markets, sometimes for cultural history. No one is going to lose money, but sometimes they do it for a sense of cultural pride.”

Wine Enthusiast: Q&A with Yao Ming

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
by John

Here’s an excellent interview of Yao Ming from Wine Enthusiast magazine published on Monday.

It’s obvious that Yao’s decision to get into the wine business is something he takes very seriously. The article goes into great detail about Yao’s experience with wines in the past, what made him choose Napa Valley as the place to have his wine produced, how involved he is with the wine making process, the influence of wine in Chinese culture, the similarities between playing basketball and making wine, and much more!

Bloomberg interviews Yao about his new wine at launch event [video]

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
by John

Below is some video of Yao at an event this week in Shanghai to launch his new wine. In the story we’re told that beyond the 1,200 bottles that are for sale only in the Chinese market for approximately US $280 per bottle, Yao Family Wines will be producing bottles for the U.S. market in 2012 in lower price ranges as well.

The video also explains just how big the Chinese wine market is (125 billion cases per year!), and it’s expected annual growth: 10-15%. Wowza!

“Yao Family Wines” web site launched; official press release, too

Monday, November 28th, 2011
by John

You can checkout the new “Yao Family Wines” web site here that just launched today for more information about Yao’s new wine company. NOTE: the web site may be getting overwhelmed with traffic since Yao linked to it from his Facebook page, which has over 1.1 million followers. So if the web site is down, try to visit again later.

November 28th, 2011 - The Yao Family Wines web site launches

And here’s the press release from earlier today about Yao’s new venture…

ST. HELENA, Calif., Nov. 28, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — Yao Ming, recently retired NBA star, owner of the Shanghai Sharks and humanitarian, announced today the establishment of his new Napa Valley wine company: Yao Family Wines. The company has released its inaugural wine under the brand name YAO MING®, a 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Yao Family Wines crafts world-class wines from Napa Valley, and we look forward to introducing wine lovers in China to this remarkable wine growing region,” said Yao Ming. “I believe that wine can bring people together, and make our lives more enjoyable. Basketball gave me the opportunity to live in the United States and discover many wonderful things in America. Now I look forward to bringing great wines from California back to the Chinese people.”

Yao Family Wines sources the grapes for its YAO MING® Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from prestigious Napa Valley vineyards with a reputation for excellent fruit. Director of Winemaking, Tom Hinde, notes “We work throughout the growing season to ensure low grape yield, rich flavors and optimum ripeness in the fruit to fully express the extraordinary terroir of Napa Valley. We hand harvest from individual blocks and use artisan techniques throughout the winemaking process to allow the character of the vineyards to speak in the wines.” The wines are aged exclusively in 100% French Oak barrels for at least 18 months. Individual barrels from each lot are hand selected by taste for the final blend.

The label for the YAO MING® 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was designed by Chuck House, the celebrated California wine label designer. It features a hand-drawn illustration of Napa Valley with the ancient Chinese character for “Yao,” elegantly representing both cultures in which Yao Ming has made his home.

Yao Family Wines has appointed Pernod Ricard China as its sole and exclusive importer and distributor of the YAO MING® wines in mainland China. “We are very proud to be the strategic partner of Yao Family Wines and introduce YAO MING® wines to Chinese consumers,” said Con Constandis, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard China. “Though we are a global company, we have strong local roots in China which makes this strategic partnership with a man like Yao Ming as special as the quality wines themselves.”

The YAO MING® 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is available in China immediately and will be available in the United States in 2012. For more information, please visit the Yao Family Wines website at www.yaofamilywines.com.

First bottle of Yao’s new wine auctioned off for big bucks

Monday, November 28th, 2011
by John

On Sunday night in Shanghai, Yao Ming attended a Special Olympics East Asia charity gala where several items were auctioned off, including the first bottle of wine from Yao’s new winery.

November 27th, 2011 - Yao Ming auctions off the first bottle of his new wine at a charity auction in Shanghai

November 27th, 2011 - Yao Ming auctions off the first bottle of his new wine at a charity auction in Shanghai

The bottle of wine and a Salvatore Ferragamo shoe last from custom-made shoes recently made for Yao were auctioned off for 200,000 RMB together (US $31,000). Yao’s most recent Facebook post states that the wine made up about US $20,000 of that total. A total of 2.89 million RMB (US $450,000) was raised at the charity auction. Well done!

Click here for more photos from the charity gala and auction, thanks to Raymond in China.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal came out with an article today that goes into more details about Yao’s entry into the wine making business. It’s clear that Yao is in the business for the long haul.

Yao launches wine [video]

Saturday, November 26th, 2011
by John

This week Yao is launching his own wine intended exclusively for the Chinese market. It’s a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon produced in California’s Napa Valley. Checkout the video interview of Yao from the Wall Street Journal.

USA Today reports (via China Daily) the following:

“It comes in a magnum bottle - meaning it can hold 1.5 liters of wine - costs 3,800 yuan ($596) a pop and is extremely rare. None of the 1,200 bottles in existence will be sold on the open market.”

There is a discrepancy regarding the price. In the Marketwatch video, it’s reported that it will sell for $298 (U.S.), whereas the China Daily article reports the price is double. We’ll see.

Regardless, Yao’s Napa Valley wine company will make its debut Sunday night at an auction for Special Olympics East Asia.

Yao’s Sharks and Li Ning strike deal

Friday, November 4th, 2011
by John

Raymond reports that on Thursday in Shanghai, Yao’s Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks announced a deal with Li Ning where the Chinese company will design, produce and market jerseys, shoes, sneakers and other products for the team.

Below is some of the gear displayed at the news conference (click here for more photos):

November 3rd, 2011 - Yao Ming's Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks announce a deal with Chinese athletic apparel maker Li Ning

November 3rd, 2011 - Yao Ming's Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks announce a deal with Chinese athletic apparel maker Li Ning

November 3rd, 2011 - Yao Ming's Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks announce a deal with Chinese athletic apparel maker Li Ning

The deal between the Sharks and Li Ning is interesting because China ANTA has an agreement with the China Basketball Association to supply ANTA jerseys and shoes for every CBA team. The Sharks will continue to wear ANTA gear on the court, but wear Li Ning off the court.

Li Ning will also work with the Sharks on several basketball-related projects in the greater Shanghai region, including:

- the construction of a Shanghai Li Ning basketball park;
- establishment of an exclusive Li Ning ~ Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks basketball training camp
- regular fan gatherings and other meaningful community activities

The deputy general manager for the Sharks said that ANTA and Reebok were considered as potential partners, but the Sharks chose Li Ning because of their additional emphasis on the Sharks’ junior team, as well as their long-term vision for basketball development in the Shanghai region.

For more photos and information on the deal, click here.